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Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)


Definition:

Foxglove poisoning usually occurs from sucking the flowers or eating the seeds, stems, or leaves of the foxglove plant.

Poisoning may also occur from taking more than the recommended amounts of medicines made from foxglove.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.



Alternative Names:

Willow-leaved foxglove poisoning; Revebjelle poisoning



Poisonous Ingredient:
  • Deslanoside
  • Digitoxin
  • Digitalis glycosides


Where Found:
  • Flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds of the foxglove plant
  • Heart medicine (digitalis glycosides)


Symptoms:

Possible symptoms include:

Hallucinations, loss of appetite, and halos are usually only seen in people who have been poisoned over a long period of time.



Home Treatment:

Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional.



Before Calling Emergency:

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the plant or medication, if known  
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed


Poison Control, or a local emergency number:

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Poison control center - emergency number



What to expect at the emergency room:

The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Blood tests to determine digitalis, magnesium, and potassium levels
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG )
  • Medicine (antidote) to reverse the effect of the poison
  • Medicines to correct any electrolyte (potassium, magnesium) imbalances
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)


Expectations (prognosis):

How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.




Review Date: 2/17/2009
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Stephen C. Acosta, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, OR. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (2/27/2008).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100